July 14 (UPI) — Japan said Tuesday in a new defense white paper that North Korea has the capability to launch an attack against Japan with a nuclear warhead, a first-time admission in official documents as tensions grow in the region.
North Korea appears to have the capability to attack Japan because the Kim Jong Un regime has perfected the capability to miniaturize nuclear warheads and mount them on ballistic missiles capable of reaching their targets, the report says.
The Japanese analysis indicates North Korean missiles may have overcome technical challenges, including atmospheric heating from re-entry, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
The report says North Korea’s short-range missiles that place South Korea and some areas of Japan within range, can be launched undetected and take Japan’s defense networks by surprise.
On Monday, Japan’s defense ministry said Pyongyang used solid fuel in the three types of new short-range ballistic missiles launched after May 2019.
The ministry had also said the missiles under development travel at an unpredictable trajectory and at low altitudes.
“There is also a possibility that advanced technology may be being applied to missiles with a longer range,” the ministry said.
The Japanese white paper included four images of North Korean ballistic missile launches, including the submarine-launched ballistic missile Pukguksong-3.
Japan is growing increasingly wary of advances in North Korean weapons development. The government has proposed the country have the potential ability to mount a pre-emptive first strike against enemy bases, in the face of a pending missile attack.
“All cards should be on the table,” Defense Minister Taro Kono said last week.
North Korea is allocating resources to arms development as a food shortage persists in the country.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, a joint report from U.N. agencies published Monday, says nearly half of the North Korean population suffers from malnutrition, the second-highest rate after Haiti, Radio Free Asia and Voice of America reported.